Sioux City Split

The dynamic duo of Bob Foulk and Roger Plum put together yet another dazzling custom VW, a Ford Valencia Sherman Yellow '52
By Dean Kirsten | November 1, 2011

Photos by Dean Kirsten

There must be something in the water, they say. People in these parts have been talking about these two characters spending months on end working on old Volkswagens. But then again, about once a year they come out of the famed B&B Bug Barn to show off what they have created behind those old wooden doors. Residents of Sioux City, Iowa, they have long been aware of just how talented locals Bob Foulk and Roger Plum are. For years they handled the community’s plumbing needs, but nowadays, it’s all about the Volkswagen for these two longtime buddies — no more drip, drip, drip.
Bob Foulk installed a full set of Chevy-patterned, Neal disc brakes from Prowler’s Speed & Custom. Custom wheels are 17x7-inch Intra 5-spokes, mounted up with 205/40/17-inch Yokohama tires up front, and 215/40/17-inch on the rear.
Seeing what these two guys put together each time has become somewhat of a pleasure for many of us. We spotted them at Fredericksburg, Texas, then in Omaha, Nebraska, and again back in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Each time they pull out all the stops with their cars, and for 2011, this Lemon Yellow 1952 Split Window ragtop could easily be their best one yet. What started life as a bare shell — actually they began with two (bare) shells, one from Florida and the other from Salt Lake City — soon became one seriously custom 1952.
A-1 Muffler supplied the 1-5/8-inch system and 3-inch (polished) stainless muffler.
Bob wanted a Split sedan for years, so he finally located a "suitable" donor in Florida, which later on, turned out to be good for only parts and not the main body shell. Next, body #2 came up, and this one was a keeper, but only the shell, doors, one fender and front hood were good enough. But Bob also wanted a 3-fold ragtop, and the steering column on the right-hand side! So, he continued to search and found his donor roof in Houston, but had to ship that jewel via Greyhound bus (ticket, please!). Next, trying to locate a right-hand-drive dash and pedals proved to be a worldwide task. But thanks to our old buddy Boris of Vee Dub Supply in Australia, Bob found someone who would ship him these mirror-image parts.
Large-mouth early gas tank has been filled and smoothed, then surrounded by gray carpeting, thanks to Sewfine Interior Products.
Starting with a 1973 IRS pan, Bob and Roger quickly decided to use IRS on the rear, but up front, they ordered a complete A-arm front suspension from Eyeball Engineering, in Fresno, California. This front end bolts to the front frame head of the ’73 pan, but since Bob wanted a right-hand-drive, he also had to ask Boris for a rack-’n-pinion box from an Aussie VW Rabbit. Once the floorpans were replaced with new metal from Wolfsburg West, the pan was blasted and painted gloss black by Roger.
So the plan of attack was to use 17x7-inch Intra wheels which will obviously push the limits of the fenders. To combat this issue, friend Pato Halter modified the rear fenders by widening them 1-1/2 inches, using two fenders welded together, and installed narrower IRS arms and axles from CIP1. The combinat ion al lowed them to use Yokohama 215/50-17-inch tires, backed up with Neal disc brakes using a Chevy pattern (from Prowler’s Speed & Custom). Up front, since the Eyeball front end is already narrowed 1- inch per side, and was fitted with drop spindles, the right setup turned out to be 205/40/17-inch tires, which tucked neatly under the stock steel front fenders. What actually set the ride height was a pair of front Aldan coil-over shocks with 250-lb. springs, and a pair of SAW 30mm torsion bars wi th chromed adjustable spring plates out back.
Moving to the body work, once a donor roof clip was located, Bob and Roger went about welding in the new panel, along with installing the new dash panel, shaving the wiper bosses and widening the engine compartment to accommodate the stroker engine. Once everything was cherried out, Bob and Roger selected a 2010 Ford Valencia Sherman #75777 yellow, and applied it inside and out.
For the interior and top upholstery, Bob went to see Mike and Carol at Sewfine Interior Products in Denver, Colorado to have the entire car done up right. Selecting a pair of custom front seats from Sewfine, Mike went about shaping and covering these seats with plum Ultra Leather, and then matched those with a custom rear seat complete with pillows. The headliner and door panels matched the seats, as does the canvas top done in plum. Most of the interior was installed locally by Roger Lyle in Sioux City. Details to follow include an Empi GT steering wheel from Paul Smith, custom white-faced VDO speedo and tach, RHD Berg shifter, custom billet pedals and window handles, and color-matched seat belts.
Usually Bob likes to drive around with more of a mild-mannered engine with stock gears and enough power to get down the road. But not this time! Thanks to a massive garage find, Bob had Dick Bozarth assembled a serious 2213cc engine, built around a number of Gene Berg parts. Starting with an AS41 case with Berg machine work, Dick added an 86mm Berg forged crank, Carrillo 5.5-inch rods, and 90.5mm Mahle pistons. Inside we find a high-ramp Engle VZ-25 cam, pushing 44mm x 37.5mm valves found in a pair of Clyde Berg ported heads with 8.5:1 compression. Up top, Dick added a pair of 44 IDF Webers, fired by a Joe Hunt magneto. Down below is a stainless 1-5/8-inch A-1 Muffler system fitted with a 3-inch stainless muffler. All told, Bob now has about 170hp on tap, which is about 130 more than he usually has. . . We should mention that behind this power is an Alan Deshotels-built IRS box, fitted with a 3.88 ring and pinion, Super-Diff,close ratio third gear and a heavy-duty side cover.
Coil-over, A-arm front suspension came from Eyeball Engineering, and is a bolt-in.
Like everything else on this car, the engine sheet metal has been painted to match the interior color — a dark plum — and even the air cleaner tops have been milled away and detail-painted. There’s a custom spark plug wire tube fitted and a billet magneto clamp, and there’s even a BMD custom pulley setup made from billet aluminum. Firewall shows strips of etched aluminum strips, fitted between the painted ribs. You might also spot there is no decklid seal showing on the lower apron — it’s smooth!
From the outside, you can certainly appreciate the placement of heart taillights on a 1952 ragtop. Bob also made up his own custom bumpers with painted rib, and fitted the decklid with billet hinges as well. Even the trunk has been detailed with carpeting and painted wide mouth gas tank.
Right-hand drive dash was a rare find.
Of all the cars Bob and Roger have built and had featured in Hot VWs, I would have to sat this is the nicest by far. Hearing about all the problems they faced with the right-hand-drive parts alone would have made most of us give up and go back to stock. But not these guys. We can only imagine that since they have both retired from the plumbing business for good — the VW industry's gain is the leaky faucet market's loss.
Bob’s buddies were all on-hand to watch the photo session in Fredericksburg, Texas.

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